The Progrm’s John Singleton: “I think we like to look at it as an artist”

December 7, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Stefan Oberwalder
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For over a decade now, John Singleton, founder of the Progrm, has been helping CrossFit athletes reach their athletic potential. We caught up with him in the UAE during the Dubai Fitness Championship, where he was supporting Mortiz Fiebig, who finished the competition in 2nd place overall. 

Given the long travel needed for some to get to the Middle East, it begs the question as to how an athlete chooses which off-season competitions to invest their time, money and energy into.

“Travel is one factor for the athletes. It’s a stress having to do so, especially coming over from the States…plus going to say, Texas, (for Rogue) is big travel. So in essence, pure quantity is a big thing,” he said. “So I think that if we’re talking about an athlete in the top 20 in the world, they can probably handle four big events a year. And you put Semi’s and the Games into that and then you’ve got two left that you can pick and choose from.”

He went on to say that if an athlete is newer and needs competition experience, they may do more, and “if an athlete’s got the experience but they need to work on something specific, then it goes less.” 

While every competitor has different needs, the Spain-based training camp has long embraced the “simple but effective” mindset. 

“I think it’s a very good thing to keep in mind that these athletes can handle a lot of volume, but it doesn’t mean you need to give them a lot of volume,” he said. 

Photo Credit: Joseph Somakian (@lifeofjosii)

And in thinking about programming in a way that helps an athlete adapt to volume, it may seem like everyone’s everyone’s doing a variation of the same thing. However, Singleton says “actually when you start looking closer and closer at it, our approach is quite unique. I think we like to look at it as an artist — there’s a certain style that you have that will resonate with one type of athlete but won’t resonate with another type of athlete.” 

As a general rule of thumb, The Progrm encourages athletes to start with general programming first, and then seek individualized programming when they make a Seminfinal, so the extra eyes and custom protocol can take them to the next level: the CrossFit Games.

With a goal to become the “best training program in the world”, we’re expecting great things out of The Progrm in 2023. And, in case you’re wondering, there is a reason the “A” is missing in the name.

“Sisu is this Finnish word that means kind of hard working. And when we started The Progrm, I wanted kind of an Icelandic representation of that because we were living in Iceland, we were very focused there,” he said. He went on to share that they tried a couple different words but landed on “The Program”, but in searching for the Instagram name, found out that it wasn’t available. “So we were just like, okay, let’s just take out ‘A’, and it just stuck.”

To catch the full interview with Singleton, check out our live Coffee Break Conversation from December 2nd on YouTube here. Our weekly topic-focused chat with an industry expert is exclusive to Rx subscribers; join here for just $1 to access them all.

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